In the Know: LASIK Surgery vs Refractive Lens Exchange

Your eyes are not just the windows of the soul. They are one of the most vital senses of the body to communicate, engage, and create significance in your chosen career fields. Thus, your eyesight needs to be perfect to ensure that you can see everything and don’t miss any opportunity.

However, that is not always possible. In fact, some studies revealed that 36 million people are blind, and 216 million individuals suffer from moderate to severe eyesight problems.

But on the brighter side, you can be free from visual impairments such as clouded vision and nearsightedness. With today’s innovations in eyesight and surgical advances, there are various treatment options that you can choose from. When it comes to eye surgical treatments for corrective options, the two leading options are refractive lens exchange (RLE) and **LASIK. **

You might be wondering which is a better treatment that will work for you. To answer that, you should understand how these two differ from each other.

Understanding LASIK

LASIK stands for Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusis. It is one of the widely performed eye procedures in North America. With the purpose of correcting various refractive errors, including astigmatism, farsightedness, and nearsightedness, LASIK utilizes a laser to perform the procedure. After undergoing LASIK surgery, you won’t need contact lenses or eyeglasses anymore.

Considered an elective surgery, LASIK may not be included in insurance coverage. Inquire with your insurance company regarding the details of other advanced corrective vision treatments.

Learning about Refractive Lens Exchange (RLE)

Although LASIK is a popular eye surgical treatment, not everyone can undergo this procedure. For instance, older adults (aged 40+) who may not be qualified for LASIK can choose to have another treatment, such as a refractive lens exchange (RLE).

RLE will replace the natural lens of the eyes and have an intraocular lens (IOL). This procedure is ideal for patients who undergo a change in their vision because of the eye’s natural ageing process.

Here’s a quick reference on the difference between LASIK and RLE:

Corrective Uses

LASIK is used for mild to moderate myopia, astigmatism, and hyperopia. RLE is done for early cataracts, presbyopia, and moderate to severe hyperopia.


LASIK is done as an outpatient procedure, lasting for about 15 minutes of treating each eye.
RLE is also an outpatient procedure, lasting for about 20-30 minutes on each eye.


With LASIK, a patient can recover in 2-7 days. RLE patients may start doing their normal activities in 2-7 days, and complete adjustment may happen in 6-12 weeks.


LASIK contraindications include diabetic retinopathy, thin cornea, autoimmune diseases, cataracts, glaucoma, and eye diseases.

In RLE, contraindications are retinal damage, high corneal astigmatism, autoimmune diseases, and high corneal astigmatism.


LASIK and refractive lens exchange are both innovative and provide their own benefits. But keep in mind that not every procedure will effectively work in all situations. Make your evaluation and ask for recommendations from your eye doctor on the best option to correct your vision problems.

If you’re still searching for a reliable laser eye clinic in Abbotsford, BC, you’re at the right place. Valley Laser Eye Centre can aid in correcting your vision with the help of our state-of-the-art technology. Get in touch with us today and schedule an appointment!

Disclaimer: This blog post does not replace medical advice and should not be implemented prior to consulting a fully certified medical professional.



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